Today I am optimistic. All about me, people are heaving with concern for the future of our world. At a glance, I admit, it looks dire. Compassion and caring, love and generosity, what to me makes a true human, seem to be in short supply.
I just re-watched the Harry Potter series. I love all of JK Rowling’s characters, including Voldemort and Draco. What she did with Harry Potter was beyond remarkable, because I believe she may have breathed new life into our troubled world.
Harry Potter was a block buster. The books, movie and industry around it still are. To the kids who grew up on Harry Potter, Harry was not simply a movie character, he was a role model, a rock star.
Can you conceive of a world where grown-ups believe in magic and in the power of love? The base line of what it means to be human would change overnight. When the old guard retires, and people who know that difference are strengths step into positions of power, diversity will shine with a new light. The kids who grew up living, breathing, and idolizing Harry, are today’s young grown-ups. They are in their mid-twenties … and they believe.
They were paying attention when Dumbledore said, “You place too much importance… on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” Watch and you will see that they are less likely to exclude anyone regardless of skin color, gender or find any need of other justifications.
They know how important it is to feel their experience, to not stuff their emotions or project their pain on others. Dumbledore taught them. “Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human … the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength.”
Dumbledore showed them through his words and actions, how to do what is right.”Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” They know what happens when you choose easy. They know that there are some things, many things worth risking it all.
They understand courage. They watched it over and over and over again for a period of ten years, ten very formative years. They saw their heroes stand up for each other. They watched as Dumbledore said, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” They watched and they saw what happens when good stands together.
Can you imagine someone who grew up on Harry Potter sacrificing anyone? Harry could not leave Draco to die in the burning building. God knows, Draco had given him millions of reasons to leave him to die. In the end, the inherent goodness that Harry so embodied, saved Draco (his life and his future), and his act of compassion saved his own life as well. Is it possible that the Harry Potter fans missed that? I do not think so. What will that mean for all those people that our systems currently discard?
The generation that grew up on Harry Potter understands the power of love. They know. Choosing fear rather than love does not work out well in the end. Choosing what is wrong and false over what is right and true has painful consequences. They watched as Voldemort lost his power, one horcrux at a time. They watched him lose. They watched him die. They saw love and compassion in action. They saw its power and glory. Even if the full thrust of love didn’t seep into every crack of their psyche, its presence is still there.
I do not worry about the future of our world. JK Rowling, and so many others, inspired by truth, stirred by Divine Intelligence, have planted seeds that must, in perfect timing, bloom.
One last Dumbledore quote … God, I love that man. “Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”